Congresswoman Lois Capps Calls for Offshore Fracking Moratorium

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara)

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara)

As the oil industry amps up its campaign to expand fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in California, a prominent California Congresswoman is calling for a moratorium on offshore fracking in federal waters off the California coast.

On November 19, Representative Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for a moratorium on offshore fracking activities in federal waters off the coast of California until a comprehensive study is conducted to determine the impacts of fracking activities on the marine environment and public health.

Requests under the Freedom of Information Act, along with Associated Press and truthout.org reports and an analysis from the Environmental Defense Center, have to date revealed that California’s coastal waters have been fracked at least 203 times in the last 20 years.

Capps said she has been pushing federal regulators for information on this issue for months and “continues to monitor onshore and offshore fracking activities closely.”

“I have been seriously concerned about offshore fracking since recent reports first brought it to light,” Capps said. “While we still know little about the impacts of onshore fracking, we know even less about impacts of offshore fracking. The inadequate oversight of these activities is unacceptable, and offshore fracking should be halted until we better understand their impacts.”

The fracking took place as Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served from 2004 to 2012 on the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Forces to create alleged “marine protected areas” in state waters stretching from the Oregon to Mexican borders.

offshore-oil-drilling-350In one of the most overt conflicts of interest in California history, Reheis-Boyd chaired the task force that crafted the “marine protected areas” in Southern California that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, millitary testing, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering.

In a meeting of the MPA Collaborative Implementation Project in Morro Bay this week, Joey Racano of the Ocean Outfall Group asked Resources Agency officials “how the Chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, also the President of Western States Petroleum Association, could not have known that offshore fracking was already going on at the time!”

As the campaign to ban offshore fracking heated up, the Brown administration last week released new draft fracking rules authorized under Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4, the green light to fracking bill. Food and Water Watch issued an action alert urging people to submit public comments on the draft rules.

dan bacherCaleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, urged people to support a ban on fracking in California.

“California’s new draft fracking rules Are BAD,” she said. “Tell Governor Brown that weak regulations won’t cut it. We need a ban!”

“Regulations don’t make fracking any safer – no water for fracking at the expense of the Tribal ceremonies and salmon habitat,” Sisk stated.

Dan Bacher
Fishing Sniffer

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Published by the LA Progressive on November 23, 2013
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